Review: Wolf #1

This comic is interesting. It had me at first, then it lost me… then it brought me back around only to then very quickly loose me again, but just as quickly as it lost me… brought me back one more time. Then on the very last page… lost me again. I don’t mean “lost” as in I didn’t get what I was reading, but “lost” as in lost me as a reader. As it is, I don’t know if I would honestly come back for the second issue of Wolf. The story and dialogue are unfortunately pretty standard of any Ales Kot comic. I suppose for some that’s a good thing, but for me I’ve really grown tired of his ideology of writing in which I feel like I’m wasting my time reading bullshit dialogue that serves no point. For instance, there’s a scene with a Cthulhu looking dude that became painful to read. Painful. And it just keeps going for more pages than necessary. The only pertinent information is that this character is having a problem with their landlord. Sadly, it’s not until the next scene in which useful information is given and it feels out of place and just exposition for the reader making the previous scene all the more pointless to have read.

I supposed I should take a step back and tell you about the story, if that’s annoying, well it’s intentional. I want you to hold on to that annoyed feeling during this review so I can make a point later on.

Steve said it best on the CBMFP this week when he said that Wolf is if David Blaine was really doing what he says he’s doing. I’m actually going to add to that by saying it’s a cross between street magic and Criminal Macabre. In fact, I think it started off as the later and grew into the former because… Ales Kot.

Our main character Antoine Wolfe or as he’s known to others… Wolf… let’s all just have a deep sigh before I move on since it’s perhaps the most annoying thing in a comic book to have a character known as the same name, but different spelling… it’s completely pointless since everyone will be saying it the same way while reading it. That and if I’m not mistaken Mr. Wolfe here is supposed to be American given his dog tags and something revealed towards the end of the book making it all the more confusing based on his English (think the country, not the language) spelling of the name… just saying, if you’re going to be very specific about the region and background of a character, maybe don’t fuck up and be cute with the last name.

Wolf-#1So Wolf as I’m going to call him kicks off the issue on fire, in a straight-jacket, singing and walking calmly. We see him later and he’s no longer on fire and being questioned by the police because he put himself out in someone’s pool. This is all just to introduce him as someone known by the police and that there’s a myth that he’s immortal. At this point in the story I wasn’t onboard, but I did like the opening.

After this Wolf rides the bus home and runs into a hypnotist who robs a lady, but Wolf steps in and well we have to assume something happened because we just zoom in on their mouths and get the vague impression that Wolf hypnotized the man and yeah… then we just leave the scene. Then there’s some business with a mafia dude that’s racist. We only know that because Wolf says it over and over and while I don’t really need a demonstration of his racism, I also don’t need to be told over and over. I will admit that other than that fact, I liked what I read. The comic also comes to a very natural stopping point at the conclusion of this scene… and then continues going.

During a few scenes we also meet a girl that’s had her family killed, stands in a visual vagina and talks to someone unseen by the human eye and throws herself out of a moving car on an LA highway and not only lives, but manages to evade the police… I’m going to venture a guess that Ales Kot hasn’t been on too many LA highways because the probability of either of those things happening are very slim. Also I want to say that Child Services would have been on scene with the child before leaving the crime scene, but I could be wrong.

The rest of the issue is with our Cthulhu friend and his landlord which starts to get really interesting and then we hit two black pages, one of which reads, “Don’t Worry. We’ll come back to that” and the other reading “Chapter Two. Later that night.”

Remember when I jumped around at the beginning and told you it was intentional? Well me doing that made more sense than basically dick teasing the story and then leaving it to move forward with the actual narrative. Why the fuck would we need to go back? You’ve already shown us what’s next which completely invalidates any outcome that scene would have provided. Frankly it’s not the only time the story jumps around like an asshole, but it does have the biggest “fuck you” with its two black pages stonewalling the story. And “Chapter Two”? What? There’s only four pages after that… how is that chapter two? I mean this is basically a double-sized issue and around half way through there’s a natural stopping point. If it wasn’t meant to be a “first chapter” then Kot’s writing is lacking a lot of structure.

I do have what’s kind of a petty gripe with this story. Kot is from the U.K. which I know and granted maybe everyone reading Wolf or his work won’t know that. The story takes place in LA or kind of Hollywood in a way and frankly as someone that lives in LA I can tell you that Kot does not know LA. They say “write what you know” and really what that saying is implying is “don’t bullshit what you don’t know.” I could get more nitpicky, but basically Kot picks well known things about LA and mashes them pointlessly into the story. Now granted most people probably won’t know that or care, but that’s where the Criminal Macabre comparison comes in because the writer/creator of that series, Steve Niles, knew LA very well and used that in his story which is also about a paranormal detective. Not to compare the two, but one story benefits from this on-site knowledge, whereas the other comes across as a Google search. Okay, it’s Wolf that comes across as a Google search.

The art is the one decent thing about this comic. I liked it for the most part except for the landmarks that felt too referenced and out of place with the rest of the story. Sometimes it felt like an illustration sitting on top of a photo. Think Muppet Babies if you need a visual reference point. Otherwise the art does it’s best to present the story in a cohesive way, but frankly there’s too much going on and too many problems with the pacing.

As I said in the beginning, I jumped on and off this book a lot. Someone out there may find everything I’ve said about it interesting and actually enjoy it. Maybe I was just too nitpicky, but considering there were parts that I honestly liked, I don’t think I am. Maybe on the LA thing, but even then I don’t think so considering how much the story tries to include it (also in California you can’t raise the rent more than 10% in a 12-month time period not 25%, I knew that already, but a quick google search double verified it… Kot could have done the same).

At the end of the day I think this comic frustrated and annoyed me more than it entertained. I don’t know about you, but I don’t tend to stick around on stories that don’t first entertain me. If you are a Kot fan then you’ll probably like this story, it’s very much in tune with everything else he writes and frankly that’s becoming annoying in and of itself. If you’re not a Kot fan or you’ve gone sour on him like I have, then this won’t bring you back around. But hey, it’s creator-owned so if you want to chance it at least you’ll be supporting the creators and not a corporation.

Score: 2/5

Wolf #1 Writer: Ales Kot Artist: Matt Taylor Colorist: Lee Loughridge Publisher: Image Comics Price: $4.99 Release Date: 7/22/15 Format: Print/Digital